By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
BALTIMORE -- Tim Wakefield understood the situation.
The Red Sox were short on sleep and relievers Monday night, with Daniel Bard, Matt Albers and Alfredo Aceves all unavailable due to heavy workload over the weekend.
Wakefield would have liked to take the Red Sox deep into the game Monday. But he was done after 4 23 innings, unable to keep his knuckleball down in the strike zone when he needed to most.
After Josh Reddick misplayed a ball hit by Derrek Lee into a two-run triple, the Sox stormed back and gave Wakefield a 6-2 lead in the fifth.
But Wakefield gave it back in the bottom of the inning, thanks to two homers and a two-run double.
"Obviously, (the bullpen depth) was on my mind and I'm disappointed I couldn't get us into the sixth or seventh inning," said Wakefield. "It's something that I pride myself in and it's something I want to try to accomplish and give those guys a rest and I wasn't able to do it tonight."
Wakefield's knuckleball showed great depth in the early innings but later, he left balls up to J.J. Hardy and Adam Jones and paid for it with homers.
"The pitch to Hardy, I was trying to throw a first-pitch strike and left it up," said Wakefield. "The one to Jones, I overthrew it and it didn't do anything."
Monday morning, he snapped a 0-0 tie with a game-winning single. Monday night, he snapped a 7-7 tie and hit a two-run double to give the Red Sox a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
It doesn't matter the score or the inning. Dustin Pedroia likes being up in big spots.
It wasn't easy, either, as he faced reliever Mark Worrell, who throws sidearm and hadn't pitched in the big leagues in three seasons.
"I was just trying to see it," said Pedroia. "He kind of hides the ball and then it gets on you. In that situation, I was just trying so hard to get a ball in the air because it's sinking so much. I was lucky enough to do that."
Pedroia has a 16-game hitting streak, the longest ongoing streak in the league.
"I'm just trying to have good at-bats, get on base," said Pedroia. "That's my job."
Both big hits the last two games were hit to the opposite field, but Pedroia said that wasn't by design.
"My approach is to try hit it where it's pitched," he said.
"Both (pitches) were away and I'm just trying to put it on the barrel."
Carl Crawford (left hamstring) rejoined the team Monday and was back in the lineup in his familiar sixth spot in the batting order.
He immediately made some contributions, collecting two hits in five at-bats and two runs scored.
"You just never know how things are going to turn out (at the plate)," said Crawford, who has faced live pitching only twice in the last four and a half weeks. "I thought I was going to be a little late (with his swing), but I was able to get good timing and get good pitches to handle and find a few holes."
To make room for Crawford's activation, the Sox optioned Drew Sutton back to Pawtucket.
Crawford missed almost exactly a month with a hamstring strain, but had two rehab appearances over the weekend with Pawtucket.
"I just want to see if I could move around,'' said Crawford before the game. "I felt real good out there, so I feel comfortable returning to the lineup. I'm real excited to be back on the field. It's been a while since I've been back out there, so just to be back in the action and on the field, I'm definitely excited about it.''
Crawford said before the game that the one thing he still needs to work on is his swing and timing at the plate.
"When it comes to the offense, that's the only thing I need to (work on), my timing at the plate,'' he said.
Crawford said he was "pretty much'' looking at his return as a chance to have a second start with the Red Sox.
"I want to just put the first half behind me,'' he said, "and go forward. The team's still doing well so I'll just try to blend right in. I was starting to feel a lot better (before the injury). It's just one of those things.''
The Sox made a correction, noting that Jon Lester will return to the mound Monday July 25, and not Tuesday the 26th, as wasindicated Sunday.
Clay Buchholz threw from a distance of 120 feet Monday afternoon, with a side session scheduled in a few days.